Cuddyer setting an example in tough times

Cuddyer setting an example in tough times

DENVER -- Outfielder-first baseman Michael Cuddyer's batting average took a tumble at the same time as the Rockies' record, but his reaction turns out to be a blueprint for teammates who deal with the inevitable tough times.

Cuddyer had a .287 batting average through June 2, but between then and June 28 he hit .190 and had a .227 on-base percentage. Of course, the Rockies went 9-18 in June. An injured and ineffective pitching staff had more to do with the team's struggles than any one hitter, but having Cuddyer slump while veteran first baseman Todd Helton saw his numbers dramatically decline as he played through injury didn't help.

The Rockies signed Cuddyer, 31, to a three-year, $31.5 million contract partly to serve as an example for younger players. The intention was for him to be an example of success. But if he's going to slump, he might as well demonstrate how to handle it properly.

"The hits I was getting were extra-base hits, and I was still driving in runs, still producing," Cuddyer said. "That's what I try to do, take one thing, whether it's a hit, a run, a walk or an RBI. If I can take one of those away from a game, I find that game as a success, especially if we win."

During that rough stretch, nine of his 16 hits were for extra bases -- four home runs and five doubles. Cuddyer has done much better in the batting average department, having hit .353 between June 29 and Friday night, with five of his 12 hits going for extra bases -- three doubles, a triple and a home run.

Cuddyer's 50 RBIs at the All-Star break represented a career high, and he added another Friday in the first post-break game.